The Erie County Deputy Sheriffs Badge & Shield Club was incorporated May 21, 1956. A few of the founding fathers of the club were Sal Faletta, Frank Cartonia, Anthony Aschieri, and Frank Orlando.
At it’s inception the Badge & Shield Club was not only a Social Club, but the bargaining unit for the employees of what was then known as the Erie County Sheriff’s Department. The first directors of the club were William Watson, Joseph A.Gullo, Thomas Hassett, Valentine Dzuik, Charles Kisloski, Alfred Steller, Carl Univerzart, Anthony Palermo, Irma Mitchell, Robert Hammer, Joseph Geraci, Philip E. Fahrer, James H. O’Connor, Philip T. Benner, William A. Buyers III, Eugene Donohue, and Mitchell Kukoleca. Joseph A. Gullo was elected the clubs first Presidentat the first official club meeting.
The club continued to hold meetings, social events, benefits and fund raisers for the club and charities and conduct negotiations with the Sheriff, on behalf of all of the Sheriff’s department employees.
In 1969, Civil service came to the Sheriff’s Department, but at the time only covered the Road Patrol Divisions. Tony Aschieri fought hard to bring Civil Service to the rest of the department. Tony wrote and spoke to Albany Legislators, Senators and anyone else that he could get to listen to him. The Sheriff at the time, Tom Ryan, was opposed to the other employees of the Sheriff s department gaining Civil Service status. Finally, Tony and Sheriff Ryan went to Albany to state their cases. With the help of State Senator Walter Floss, the Sheriff’s Department (except for the civil division) became Civil Servants on January 1, 1970. The Erie County Legislature had passed Local Laws 1& 2. The Civil division didn’t come under Civil Service Status until 1992 when a change to the State Constitution removed the provision making the Sheriff personally liable for the actions of his Civil Deputies. With Civil Service status a change also came to the Badge & Shield Club
Local 2060 A.F.S.C.M.E became the official bargaining unit for all of the Sheriff s Department employees. In the later part of 1973, while in the midst of turmoil created by the change in labor representation, the activities of the Badge & Shield club came to a grinding halt. Numerous members left the club, and those who remained elected John J. Evans as president of what seemed destined to become a club of the past. It was only through the hard work of John Evans, Andy Nowak, a few loyal, sincere members and a scattered board of directors that the club was brought back to life
On April 22, 1975 a special meeting of the club’s Board of Directors was held. The purpose of the meeting was to name an interim treasurer to carry forward the Club’s business with a smooth orderly transition should the current President (John J. Evans), Treasurer (Robert J. Ostermeier), and Secretary (Patricia Siracuse) be successful in their bid for office in the Erie County Sheriff s Department Employees local 2060 A.F.S.C.M.E. elections to be held on April 25, 1975. At a special meeting of the Executive Committee on May 7, 1975 , Treasurer Nowak reported the receipt of letters of resignation for John Evans, Robert Ostermeier, and Patricia Siracuse. At that meeting Andrew Nowak became president, Joseph Quinn became secretary and John Duggan became Treasurer.
At the time of the transfer the Club had a healthy bank balance and it seemed that everything would continue on a steady course. President Andy Nowak, at the May 15, 1975 Executive Board meeting, said that there were numerous comments from club members regarding the design of the clubs emblem. The club’s name was the Badge & Shield and that indicated two insignias. President Nowak introduced a motion to change the clubs emblem so that it would be representative of both style of badges worn by the departments deputies and serve as a symbol of unity, resulting in the emblem we have today – the Shield within the six point star.
On September 1, 1970 the statute that the club was first incorporated under was repealed and replaced by the “not-for-profit” Corporation Law. The club had to deliver a Certificate as a “not -for-profit” Corporation to the Department of State before September 1, 1973, or face being dissolved as a corporation. After learning that this important document had not been filed, Andy Nowak contacted the Associate Attorney for the Bureau of Corporations to see if any action had been taken to dissolve the club. Thankfully no action had been taken, and Andy, along with club secretary Earlie Ashley executed and filed the required certificate on January 30, 1976, which kept the club legally incorporated.
On November 12, 1975 at the Annual Badge & Shield business meeting, club member Carl Perlino entered a motion that was seconded by Jim Kaczorowski that all past presidents of the Badge & Shield Club be given life membership in the club, free from dues payment as a token of appreciation for their efforts on the club’s behalf during their term of office. The motion passed without any opposition and is still in effect today.
Throughout the years the club has had its ups and downs with membership numbers and its financial health, even ending 1980 with a $60.00 deficit. Through the hard work of the Badge & Shield’s members and Board members the club became financially stable and the membership healthy all through the 1980’s, 1990’s and up to the present.
The Badge and Shield is one of the most successful Social Clubs in all of Western New York. Through the years the club has also been instrumental in helping many Charities and people who have experienced catastrophic events.
There are many Social events planned for the members through the year. Besides monthly meetings, there is a picnic style meeting held every June, an annual Boat ride, a night at the races, baseball games and wonderful Christmas parties, one for the membership and one for their children (and grandchildren). The club’s Retirement and Awards Dinner Party, held every year, honors all those who have given so much of their lives and time to serving the Erie County Sheriff’s Department and the citizens of Erie County. It is always a great affair.
The Presidents of the club and their terms are as follows:
Joseph Gullo 1956-1959
Robert Hammer 1960-1962
Anthony Aschieri 1963-1972
John J. Evans 1973-1975
Andrew C. Nowak 1975-1976
Christopher Clark 1977-1978
Paul Evans 1979-1980
Martin Wolinski 1981
Laurie Evans 1982
Joseph Joseph 1983-1985
Alfred Gennuso 1986-1998
Joseph Joseph 1999-2006
Robert Koch 2007-2019
Christopher Clark 2019-Present
The Badge & Shield’s By-laws, under which the club operates have been revised 3 times: September 1978, June 1986, and April 2000 (after the committee worked on them through all of 1999)
Anyone who has information not found here about the club and it’s history, please submit it and we will see that it is added to this document.
A special note of thanks to Past President Andy Nowak and Recording Secretary Karen Morgan who did the research and compiled it for this document.